‘The Palestine Cables’: Bahraini elites want to reach out to Israel, but the people don’t

The revolt rocking the Gulf state of Bahrain continues, as protesters occupy the Pearl roundabout area, demanding that King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa step down.  One of the root causes driving the crisis in Bahrain is the existence of a “king who shows diminishing care for relations with his Shi’i subjects,” as Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote.  And while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far from a root cause of the unrest in Bahrain and other Arab countries, popular sentiment on Israel is one more example of the disconnect between Bahraini and other U.S.-backed Arab elites and their people, and this disconnect is at the core of the uprisings’ demands for democracy and freedom. 

State Department cables on Bahrain released by WikiLeaks reveal the depth of that disconnect in Bahrain. 

Israeli-Bahraini relations can’t be described as close, but recent outreach efforts to Israel by the ruling family have turned heads in that country.  In a July 2009 Op-Ed published in the Washington Post, the crown prince of Bahrain called for dialogue between Israelis and Arabs.  After the piece was published, according to a August 2009 cable from the embassy in Bahrain’s capital city, the prince urged U.S. officials  “to think about ‘a peace dividend’ for those countries, like Bahrain, that were willing to take risks for peace. He specifically mentioned that Bahrain would welcome increased trade and investment from the United States.” 

But the people of Bahrain reacted strongly against the move.  A July 2009 cable states that because of Israeli “settlements, arrests, attacks against civilian populations,” public opinion in Bahrain thought that it was “unacceptable” to “reach out to Israel.”  This sentiment was expressed in “both Sunni and Shia blogs,” with one blogger publishing “photos from Gaza of dead and maimed Palestinian children” in response.  (The cable also reports that one blog posting stated, “as long as normalization is with the people of Israel and not the political leadership (of Israel), it is acceptable.”)

Bahrain’s foreign minister came in for similar criticism in his country in the wake of a 2007 meeting with Tzipi Livni, then Israel’s foreign minister, as a WikiLeaks cable shows.  The cable also reports that Bahrain’s foreign minister told an American Jewish Committee delegation of the need to “shore up President Abbas against the challenge presented by Hamas,” and called for Palestinian refugees to give up their right of return.

Read all of the ‘Palestine Cables’ here.

Alex Kane is a blogger and journalist based in New York City.  He blogs at alexbkane.wordpress.com.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
 

Posted in Gaza, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East | Tagged ,

{ 69 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. hophmi says:

    Yes, if anything is true, Arab states should not reach out to Israel. Because Western activists would get very upset if they did.

    Are you a warmonger, Alex?

    • Sumud says:

      Western activists? The article is about Bahrainis not wanting Bahrain to have ties to the state of Israel while the oppression of Palestinians continues. WTF does that have to do with western activists?

      I approve of the arab state boycott of Israel. If you take the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative as a current statement of the boycott’s goals (which have changed over the years) then it’s very close to stated goals of BDS.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      It’s the Arab dictators that are reaching out to Israel. Birds of a feather flock together.

    • Shingo says:

      Yes, if anything is true, Arab states should not reach out to Israel. Because Western activists would get very upset if they did.

      Even if the ones reaching out happen to be vile dictators. I guess this illustrates the company Israel keeps.

      They do say you can measure someone’s character by the company they keep.

    • Hophmi
      No reaching out necessary. Israel needs to just accept the idea of making peace and we’ll take it from there!

    • Citizen says:

      Do you favor oppression & poverty of the Arab states’ population by their own governments so long as this secures Israel’s hegemony in the area, hophmi? Of course, they are only Arabs, the whole lot of them not worth a single Jewish hair.

  2. gazacalling says:

    Interesting. Ordinary Egyptians hate Israel and want to attack her, and the same seems to hold for other Arabic countries like Bahrain. Democracy in these countries is not at all in Israel’s best interest.

    • Philip Weiss says:

      gc, “attack” strikes me as a misreading and defensive. clearly there is hostility. the issue is how to address it.

      • Colin Murray says:

        This was an excellent response, Phil, and as usual Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and Jewish colonization of their land is a foundation of discontent. I think Israelis would be shocked at how much less they would be disliked if they would simply stop robbing people.

        • “I think Israelis would be shocked at how much less they would be disliked if they would simply stop robbing people.”

          Good one Colin.

        • hophmi says:

          Why would Israelis think that? All of your rhetoric suggests that Israelis will be hated as long as they choose to call themselves Israelis.

        • Taxi says:

          hoph is right.

          Israel is hated for simply existing as a foreign colony in the mideast.

          This hatred will never change so long as israel exists as a ‘zionists’ entity.

          Ever considered giving up the racist zionist ideology hoph?

          Cuz soon as you do, you will be embraced in the mideast.

        • ToivoS says:

          hopni you are becoming irrational. Is that the hysterical reaction as you slowly realize that current Israeli policies are unsustainable.

        • Keith says:

          HOPHMI- “…Israelis will be hated as long as they choose to call themselves Israelis.”

          Unless things have changed recently, official Israeli policy does not recognize an “Israeli” nationality. Jews, Arabs, Druze, etc, are what appears on Israeli ID cards. Identifying oneself as “Israeli” is strictly verboten. Perhaps if Israel became a state of all of its “Israeli” citizens, a more wholesome environment might eventually ensue. Of course, that means that “redemption” of the land of Jewish mythology is out, and the right of return of the new Israeli citizens is in.

        • fuster says:

          of course, quite a few of the other states in the Middle East might have to cease to exist in their current incarnation and some of their horrible ideologies might have to go before hatred in the Middle East can ever be extinguished.

        • Shingo says:

          All of your rhetoric suggests that Israelis will be hated as long as they choose to call themselves Israelis.

          Yes they will be loved by all so long as they change their name to Palestinians, even if they continue with the ethnic cleansing, home demolitions, settlement construction, land theft and mass murder.

        • RoHa says:

          “quite a few of the other states in the Middle East might have to cease to exist in their current incarnation and some of their horrible ideologies might have to go ”

          Seems to be happening right now. No tears for them from me.

          My concern is for people more than for states.

        • Taxi says:

          Clearly and verifiable, israel presents the biggest threat to the region as a whole. Because of it’s existence, the dastardly Arab dictators were able to endure and thrive.

          Because of it’s existence, an evil was unleashed on an unprepared and terrorized multitude.

        • Citizen says:

          Hophmi, you and the Israelis can call yourselves anything you want, as many Arab leaders have said over the years, especially Palestinian ones striving for peace. The Israeli creed is in the Israeli deed(s). Try another red herring. Gentiles, Arab or not, really don’t care about any Jewish identity crisis–except when it steps on them with jackboots or milks them dry.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          Israelis will be hated as long as they choose to call themselves Israelis.

          Probably true. Israel has built up a well-deserved legacy of hate that will probably last for decades – probably longer than Israel itself will – and that will also taint Jews worldwide by association. Just ceasing its crimes won’t be enough to instantly erase this.

          But it might be enough to lead other nations to be more willing to tolerate Israel’s existence, which is really all that Israel needs.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          Most states in the mid east are artificial products of colonial border-drawing. No surprise if the lines are erased.

        • fuster says:

          –My concern is for people more than for states.–

          excellent.

        • eljay says:

          >> My concern is for people more than for states.

          +1. Too bad Zio-supremacists don’t feel the same way. For them, it’s Israel (the “Jewish State”) Über Alles, and ethnic cleansing as an “evil” that is “required” (but which is “currently not necessary”).

          Although, to be fair, some will just “hold their noses” while others do the dirty work…

    • Dr Gonzo says:

      “Ordinary Egyptians hate Israel and want to attack her, and the same seems to hold for other Arabic countries like Bahrain. Democracy in these countries is not at all in Israel’s best interest.”

      Ehhhm …. Point 1 is who cares about Israel’s interests. Point 2 would be Democracy in Israel is probably not in the interests of Arabic countries doesn’t mean Israel should be forced to abandon it.

      • hophmi says:

        “Ehhhm …. Point 1 is who cares about Israel’s interests.”

        Well, we know the people here could not care less. Excuse me if I suggested otherwise, along with the requisite humanity that position would entail.

        • Citizen says:

          Hophmi, who’s “we?” The regular commenters here have often asserted as part of the goal that treating the Palestinian natives fairly, as humans with equal natural equal rights, is in the best interest of Israel’s long-term survival and its whole population; as well, it would enhance the Jewish image around the world. But go ahead, enjoy the simple melodramatic world pumping away inside your head.

        • hophmi says:

          “is in the best interest of Israel’s long-term survival and its whole population”

          How could be in the best interests of Israel’s long-term survival when people here make no secret of their desire not to see Israel survive?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          How come you care more about Israel than you do the US, hophmi?

        • hophmi says:

          “How come you care more about Israel than you do the US, hophmi?”

          Blah, blah, blah. It’s the usual double loyalty routine from the Jew-hater. And what are your patriotic bonafides?

        • Philip Weiss says:

          hops is dual loyalty ever an issue? You know that anti-Zionist Jews repeatedly made this allegation, including the English Jews whom Herzl sought out in the late 1890s, you’ll undermine our patriotism, they said. and i think some stuff does cross the line. eric alterman and john judis have both cited dual loyalty as a real issue around the israel stuff.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          When I see someone waving two flags, I have good reason to suppose they have a dual loyalty. Throwing up the “Jew Hater” smokescreen won’t obscure that very visible fact.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          people here make no secret of their desire not to see Israel survive?

          Because if Israel acts really really nice, we might agree to let it live, anyway.

        • hophmi says:

          “hops is dual loyalty ever an issue? You know that anti-Zionist Jews repeatedly made this allegation, including the English Jews whom Herzl sought out in the late 1890s, you’ll undermine our patriotism, they said. and i think some stuff does cross the line. eric alterman and john judis have both cited dual loyalty as a real issue around the israel stuff.”

          Look. I’ve said several times here that I believe supporting Israel is in the US’s best interest. You can feel free to disagree with me, but to question my patriotism is below the belt. People should be free to take a position on foreign policy without facing the dual loyalty nonsense. And the fact that some sha shtil Jews who were afraid of the anti-semites back then worried about this charge does not make it any less noxious.

          You mimick the Sean Hannity types by allowing that kind of thing to go on. And it is uber-hypocritical coming from a man of the left or anyone who questions US hegemony to accuse another person of insufficient patriotism or dual loyalty for expressing a political opinion. You should at the least have enough self-worth to reject this kind of argument, rather than directing it toward others.

        • hophmi says:

          “When I see someone waving two flags, I have good reason to suppose they have a dual loyalty. Throwing up the “Jew Hater” smokescreen won’t obscure that very visible fact.”

          So the Greeks who put up Greek flags on their houses – they’re doubly loyal as well?

          Again, this is just a dirty way to smear people who have political opinions that differ from your own.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          People should be free to take a position on foreign policy without facing the dual loyalty nonsense. And the fact that some sha shtil Jews who were afraid of the anti-semites back then worried about this charge does not make it any less noxious.

          Dual loyalty at work. “You aren’t supporting the Jewish state of Israel, American Jew. You’re not loyal enough!”

        • Potsherd2 says:

          And you should have the self-worth to defend your position without resorting to the “Jew Hater” line.

        • Philip Weiss says:

          when the nyt public editor says there is a conflict of interest when American Ethan Bronner’s son is in the Israeli army and he is reporting on the conflict, is that a dirty smear?

        • Potsherd2 says:

          When I see Greek-American congress members voting in favor of Greece and against US interests, as they often do in the case of Turkey, I certainly question their loyalty.

          And the loyalty of the Florida-Cubans residents who try to use the US to unseat Castro.

          But somehow I’m supposed to believe that Jewish-Americans who run for office on a platform of “supporting Israel” aren’t guilty of duel loyalty? Boiled down, this is just Jewish exceptionalism again.

        • hophmi says:

          “when the nyt public editor says there is a conflict of interest when American Ethan Bronner’s son is in the Israeli army and he is reporting on the conflict, is that a dirty smear?”

          No, Phil, it’s a conflict of interest. Can you really not tell the difference between a journalistic conflict of interest and a political charge of dual loyalty? And what does it mean, anyway? A friend of mine from high school served in the IDF, came back here, served in the US Army and went to Iraq, and now works as a NYC police officer. Is he dually loyal, too?

          How about you Phil? You express a lot of opinions that are critical of the United States. Lots of people in this country would not hesitate to question your patriotism based on your political views. I don’t happen to be one of them. I respect your opinion enough not to question your patriotism.

          So why do you question mine?

        • hophmi says:

          “When I see Greek-American congress members voting in favor of Greece and against US interests, as they often do in the case of Turkey, I certainly question their loyalty…

          So if they disagree with your position, they are dually loyal. Well, at least you’re consistent.

          “But somehow I’m supposed to believe that Jewish-Americans who run for office on a platform of “supporting Israel” aren’t guilty of duel loyalty?”

          And Christian-Americans? Are they dually too? Or it is just the Jews?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          You’re the one who’s insisting that being Jewish isn’t merely religious or ethnic but is a nationality, hophmi.

        • hophmi says:

          “You’re the one who’s insisting that being Jewish isn’t merely religious or ethnic but is a nationality, hophmi.”

          Your point? Greek is a nationality too. We don’t accuse Greek-Americans of dual loyalty for recognizing that fact. The Holy See is a Catholic country. We don’t accuse Catholics of dual loyalty (though many have tried.) The Islamic Republic of Iran is a country. We don’t accuse Muslims of dual loyalty because of that fact (though many have tried.)

        • Chaos4700 says:

          I identify as German American. That’s because German is my ethnicity. There is also a German nationality, but I’m not a part of that.

          No money leaves my hands and goes into the pocket of any German Lobby, nor do I insist that the US shell out millions of tax dollars to Germany, nor have I ever been spirited off to Germany for a tour of der Vaterland free of charge in order to influence my attitude toward Germany, as a voting American.

          There is a HUGE difference between being Jewish in ethnicity, and being “Jewish in nationality.” That’s the difference between creeps like you and yonira, and honorable people like Ana Balzer and Medea Benjamin.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          hophmi, why don’t you go to bed and come back when you’re coherent.

        • fuster says:

          Put up a link to Judis and dual loyalty, if you would. He’s always worth a look

          I’ve seen the quotation that you ran,,,,,,,”Many Jews now
          suffer from dual loyalty–the same way that Cuban-Americans or
          Mexican-Americans do.”

          but the source would be good and your link didn’t lead to it.

        • andrew r says:

          When I see someone waving two flags, I have good reason to suppose they have a dual loyalty. Throwing up the “Jew Hater” smokescreen won’t obscure that very visible fact.

          Loyalty is an authoritarian mindset. People often ask what Israel the Palestinians should recognize: the UNSCOP partition, the 1949 armistice boundary, anything from that line to the remainder of eretz israel… So what United States are you loyal to? A state that occupied its way across the middle of North America, has broken treaties like they were Munich Agreements and repeatedly invades overseas? Should you recognize only the original 13 states, the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the 1848 occupation of Mexico? Do you accept the boundary as set by the treaties or also the land annexed with no agreement, not even an agreement under coercion?

          I definitely get torqued off at j’accuse in the name of opposing the special relationship. Hunting for foreign agents is straight out of the playbook of rulers.

        • andrew r says:

          hophmi isn’t loyal to either the US or Israel. He loves territorial conquest to obliterate others. That’s where his loyalty lies.

    • RoHa says:

      ” Ordinary Egyptians hate Israel and want to attack her, and the same seems to hold for other Arabic countries like Bahrain.”

      Israelis have worked really hard at pissing off the neighbours. Now they should rejoice at how successful their efforts have been.

  3. “Reach out” in this context means “letting Israel off the hook for behaving more and more like a maniac, as evidenced by White Phosphor over Gaza and blood in international waters”.

    So of course the people are not into this sort of “reaching out” to the settler state.

  4. thetumta says:

    Phil,
    “clearly there is hostility. the issue is how to address it.”
    They’ve had 60 years to address it and passed on every opportunity. Unfortunately, Israel has been seduced into years of extreme excess largely by the successes of the American wing of the tribe(your description, not mine). Just as none of us truly thought weeks ago, we would be witnessing what we’re currently seeing, no one should be surprised by the extreme setbacks to the Zionist cause that could be right around the corner and what that will require. Just yesterday, I read the Zionist equivalent here, “of come and get us” in response to the chants of 2M Egyptians? An obvious threat of Genocide. Suicidal Hubris and unfortunately, a strongly held viewpoint which leaves only one option. A sure recipe for disaster. The only question is for whom.

    • fuster says:

      WHAAAAT?????

      **************Just yesterday, I read the Zionist equivalent here, “of come and get us” in response to the chants of 2M Egyptians? An obvious threat of Genocide.******?????????????????????????????

      twisted, really twisted, tums.

    • hophmi says:

      “Just yesterday, I read the Zionist equivalent here, “of come and get us” in response to the chants of 2M Egyptians? An obvious threat of Genocide.”

      What the hell are you talking about?

      • ToivoS says:

        What the hell are you talking about?

        Obviously he is referring to one of the eee ravings of violence fantasies. Even if you guys are on his side we realize that you have not descended into the depths of sociopathy that poor eee has.

        • eee says:

          Wow! So now advising the Egyptians not to march on Jerusalem is a threat of genocide. Your antisemitism is clearly manifested in your lack of tolerance for any form of self defense hinted at by Jews. Violence is only in your head. Do not attack us, and there will be no violence. If you do attack us, don’t complain about the results.

  5. On a sidenote, where do all those new Zionistas come from lately? Did the Israeli Foreign Ministry hire some more wankers in the PR department?

    • Citizen says:

      Yes, JP, Israel recently launched a fresh enlistment call for more hasbarabots, furnishing them with talking points, etc. They are particularly focusing on American blogs regularly criticizing Israeli policies and their implementations over the years.

      • MHughes976 says:

        A worrying phenomenon. St. Matthew advises – ‘Did you not sow good seed? Why are there weeds in your field?’/'Some enemy has done this’. /’Shall we grub them up?’/'No, you may damage the wheat in the process’.

  6. yourstruly says:

    bahrain’s elites wanting to reach out to israel

    best not

    the people say no

  7. yourstruly says:

    on reaching out

    whatever it takes

    the treasures of the world

    wall street

    total control

    commodification

    social networking

    presto

    you are i, i am you, we are one

  8. fuster says:

    the people say

    it’s just

    a summer romance

  9. MHughes976 says:

    You’d have to be crazy to believe any of the strategic interests recited by Antidote. I presume that’s her point?
    I meant to append this to Antidote’s comment and I have incompetently let it slip down the list.